Inclusive Design at Microsoft’s One Week Hackathon

Four University Innovation Fellows from the University of Technology Sydney were selected as the winning team in a Microsoft inclusive design challenge for Fellows. Their prize? A trip to Redmond, WA, to participate in the Microsoft One Week Hackathon.

The University of Technology Sydney Fellows at the Microsoft campus in March 2017. We flew back to be part of the Microsoft One Week Hackathon!

by Irene Hsieh, Corey Stewart, Peter Cole and Matthew Childs

Originally posted on Medium.

“3! 2! 1! LET’S HACK!”
A sea of red, white and black towels raised in the air as we cheered. Confetti showered over all of us and I see a drone in the distance. We were standing in the heart of Microsoft, and in that moment, we were part of the Microsoft One Week Hackathon 2017.

Our team comprised of four University Innovation Fellows from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) was selected as the winning team from a Global Inclusive Design challenge and won a trip to Microsoft’s headquarters in late July to join the world’s largest hackathon. This was an unforgettable week filled with breakthrough insights, mind-blowing moments and their discovery of the technology giant – Microsoft. The following is a recount of an adventure that most would describe as an opportunity of a lifetime.

During the March 2017 Silicon Valley Meetup, Microsoft challenged us to create a solution to “Improve diversity and inclusion for first year students”. Upon returning to Australia we ran interviews, workshops and brainstorming sessions to discover our problem area. We were intrigued to find that international students who made up of 25% of our cohort were isolated from the community. When announced as the winning team we were determined to instigate further and carry our mission to the other side of the world.

On the 22nd July we arrived in Seattle with anticipation. Driving into the modern campus we were blown away by the sheer size of the campus that consisted of 115 buildings with over 40,000 employees. Microsoft manages not only Office and Windows, but products and services including Xbox, LinkedIn, Bing, Skype, Surface, Azure and others we were yet to discover. Excitement for the coming week quickly overtook our nervousness.

We met up with Ryan, a Culture Engineer at Microsoft who was our host for the week. Our first day of the hackathon involved heavily brainstorming around our question. In our hackathon tents, we met the hackers of the diverse projects around us. From 3D printed prosthetic arms for affordable prices, to tech-based solutions for diabetics to hacks for Minecraft and Nintendo games, the energy and talent was contagious. We also met the Director of the Microsoft Garage, the team responsible for organizing the hackathon.

As University of Technology Sydney Fellows, we ideated around our board in the midst of the bustling hackathon. With the many post-it notes, we proclaimed ourselves the winners of the most colourful board competition at the hackathon.

After 48 hours of intense hacking, we built a strategic plan of events for holistic change of campus. We settled on a sustainable approach that was diverse and inclusive of the UTS community and will live on far past our time on campus. You’ll hear more about our solution soon!

Our solution included:

  • Revamping our first week of semester for all first years to engage and seek out new opportunities. The idea aims to break down superficial barriers such as age, race, discipline and factors that have subconsciously hindered connections.
  • Industry hackathons to be run regularly on campus. This will give students an opportunity to learn and engage with industry networks in a learning environment.
  • Increase student awareness and recognising the “whys” of educational requirements. This will facilitate students to shift their mindset to find their “mission” not “major” during their time at school.
  • Set up an innovation board to encourage events and conversations.
  • Set up an innovation centre to foster innovative and entrepreneurial spirit on campus.

We were extremely lucky to share our ideas with Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott who listened with enthusiasm. We were also graced with the presence of CEO Satya Nadella at the hackathon!

Throughout the hackathon, the hundreds of sticky notes on our board caught the eye many participants including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and CTO Kevin Scott, who stopped by to learn more about our work. We discussed the possibility of working with industry partners such as Microsoft to facilitate programs on campus to boost student engagement and help them solve real world problems in innovative ways. It was surreal having such important figures take interest in our ideas.

On Wednesday, we met with employees across Microsoft product groups to get a feel for the flavors of innovation. First up was Debbie Thiel, Group Program Manager at Microsoft. Debbie shared the importance to look into the future of technology and help shift the technology to be inclusive of all types of people in the world. Afterwards, we headed to the Microsoft Envisioning Centre. Not knowing what was ahead of us, we got a private tour of the space usually reserved for Fortune 500 C-level executives and government leaders. The center is a space for Microsoft to envision what the future of smart homes, living spaces and offices could be. We felt like kids in a candy store and we goggled at every piece of technology. Mundane activities such as conducting meetings to unlocking your front door had been reimagined with a large focus on inclusivity and simplicity.

Doing empathy work with Xbox Inclusive Tech Lab by Senior Interaction Designer Bryce Johnson. We learnt about the disabilities Microsoft is designing for. We put on glasses which impaired your vision to empathize with individuals with tunnel vision or other vision impairment.

On campus, we were given a tour of the Xbox Inclusive Tech Lab by Senior Interaction Designer Bryce Johnson. Our first experience was putting on glasses which allowed us to empathize with different types of visual impairments. Microsoft uses these centers to bring in people with a range of abilities to ensure products and solutions best suit their needs. This leads to new innovations such as; different tones for menu selections, new controller designs and sub packs to help hearing impaired gamers experience sound. This is the heart of Inclusive Design, by designing for a person with specific abilities, the improvements will be used by many other types of people as well. Designing for inclusion and focusing on empathy work with users is why and how Microsoft stays ahead.

Next was the Microsoft’s anechoic chamber, the quietest room in the world. The room sits at -20db at the edge of the physical limit of -23dB; the sound atom’s make bouncing off each other. The designer of the chamber, Gopal Gopal, gave us an unforgettable tour of the lab. At one point, he left us in the dark and soundless chamber and within minutes you could hear the blood flowing in your ears and bones creaking as you turned your head. We learnt about how critical it is to have environments with the lowest possible sound baseline while testing new hardware products.

We were given a tour in the quietest room in the world by the designer himself. At one point he left us in the dark, soundless room we could hear the blood flowing in our ears and bones creaking as you turned your head.

As we continued to hear from people across the company, we met with Ryan Phillips, UX Designer at Xbox and Oscar Murillo, Creative Director of Inclusive Design at Microsoft. These individuals provided insightful details into their work, their journey to Microsoft and some of the greatest insights they’ve gained from their time at Microsoft.

An amazing 48 hours hacking with 18 000 people worldwide! We were extremely inspired by the projects, talent and energy on the Microsoft campus. It was a once in a life time experience!

Another extraordinary individual we met was Mandeep Singh, Program Manager of EDU strategy at Microsoft. After spending time at a startup and Microsoft, he helped contrast the experiences and shared his advice for students. Singh reflects “I genuinely believe in that 18 to 24 months of working on my startup, I learnt way more than I did than my bachelors or masters degree afterwards.” Furthermore he pinpointed the importance of learning and the passion required in a startup, this gave us an understanding and context to the advices we are often given.

Last but more importantly, this entire experience would not have been the same without Ryan who helped plan the week. This experience has taught us so much about Microsoft’s culture, products and the people there. We could not have asked for a better week at Microsoft, thank you Ryan!

A photo of us in front of the Microsoft Envisioning Centre with the amazing Ryan Philips. We were able to see some of the greatest highlights on campus!

We could never have imagined that only four months after receiving our fellowship, we would be back for an adventure like no other. The experiences and lessons learnt during our adrenaline filled week have already rippled in how we see and do things back at the university. This trip gave us invaluable lessons into inclusivity, innovation and creativity. With this gained perspective, we are excited to continue engaging with our community and ignite meaningful impacts on our campus. Stay updated on our upcoming adventures through our Facebook page. We can’t wait to share with you all the stories ahead!

Check out more photos here!

Summer Updates and Fall News

To our student and faculty community, welcome back to school! The new academic year is an exciting opportunity to explore new opportunities for learning and to continue making change on campus.

It’s also a brand new year for the University Innovation Fellows program. We are quickly settling into our new home at Stanford University’s d.school, after the mid-summer conclusion of the NSF-funded National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter).

What have we been up to over the summer?

  • In June, we hosted a workshop with a colleague from Google as a partner event of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit called “Hack Your Creative Culture.” Fellow and facilitator Alexandra Seda shares her experience at the workshop and stories of five entrepreneurs she met in this blog post (and see photos here).
  • In June, we also hosted sessions and the Fellows presented posters at the annual ASEE Conference in New Orleans (see photos here).
  • In July, we hosted the first Teaching and Learning Studio workshop for higher education teachers (see photos here). These workshops help educators experiment with new ways of engaging students using design thinking.
  • On September 6, we launched the orientation for our Fall 2016 training.
  • We’ve got a big international opportunity in the works. Stay tuned for the announcement!
Fellows spoke and facilitated a workshop at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University in June 2016l

Fellows facilitated a workshop at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at Stanford University in June 2016.

What’s new this year?

  • The University Fellows Program has gone international! We’re accepting students from around the world.
  • We’re offering new workshops for higher education faculty and teaching staff called the Teaching and Learning Studio. The first workshop took place in July (see above), and additional workshops are planned in January 2017, June 2017 and July 2017. They are held at the d.school and facilitated by the UIF program team and Fellows. Learn more here.
  • We’re handing over the reins of our Instagram feed to Fellows who are hosting events and taking part in some exciting venture. Find out what they’ve been up to this summer.
  • Our new home at the d.school will provide our Fellows and faculty with lots of new opportunities for engagement. Stay on the lookout for new d.school friends and resources.
Fellows and program leaders hosted the first Teaching and Learning Studio for faculty in July 2016.

Fellows and program leaders hosted the first Teaching and Learning Studio for faculty in July 2016.

What will continue as always?

  • Being a program of Stanford’s d.school allows us to maintain the same mission and vision as we had with Epicenter and also provides us with new support from d.school teaching experts and collaborators.
  • We will continue to place an emphasis on design thinking, entrepreneurship, innovation, and creativity.
  • Applicants can be students from all majors and all levels of higher education (freshmen through PhD students).
  • We’ll hold two application and training cycles each year (next deadline is October 31, 2016).
  • We’ll host the annual Silicon Valley Meetup in the spring and Regional Meetups throughout the year (stay tuned for information on this year’s Regional Meetups).
  • There will be many opportunities for Fellows and faculty to join us at conferences and workshops around the world.
Fellows at the annual American Society for Engineering Education conference in June 2016

Fellows at the annual American Society for Engineering Education conference in June 2016.

Yes, we’ve got a lot going on, as we always do. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Want to get involved? Here are some ways you can join in the fun:

  • Share your updates with us. We want to bring you with us to events and conferences and feature your work on the UIF website (and the soon-to-launch new d.school website). Once we know what you’re working on, we’ll know what opportunities to connect you with. Send us a quick note in this Google form.
  • Give our social media followers a look into the work you’re doing at your school. Email Katie to guest-post on the UIF Instagram channel. On Twitter? Include #uifellows or @uifellows on your tweets. 
  • If you’ve got a story burning at your fingertips, we have a UIF Medium channel, and we’d love to include your article. Email Laurie for more details.
  • Fellows, want to meet some new future friends and help out as a mentor? We’re looking for volunteers to help with several projects, including interviewing Spring 2017 candidates. Let us know in the UIF Volunteer Opportunities form.
  • Fellows: find out what your community is up to! Connect with all of us on Slack, the closed Facebook group, the google group, and subscribe to our blog.

 

From the UIF team, we love you all, and we continue to be immensely proud of the work you’re doing. You are making a lasting impact on your university and in the lives of your peers. It’s important work, and we’re so glad you’re doing it.

Your #UIFamily,

Humera, Leticia, Katie and Laurie

Applications Open for Fall 2016 Fellows

Faculty: Do you want to help your students develop an entrepreneurial mindset and creative confidence?

Students: Do you want to make a positive impact in your life and the lives of others?

Apply for the University Innovation Fellows program! This program empowers students from all majors to become change agents at their schools. Fellows create learning opportunities for their peers and inspire them to seize opportunities, define problems and address global challenges. They design makerspaces, host experiential events, establish entrepreneurship organizations, work with faculty to develop courses, and serve as advocates for institutional change with academic leaders.

The program has opened the call for applications for the Fall 2016 cohort, and, for the first time ever, students from around the world will have this opportunity. The program is now accepting international applications.

 

The deadline is May 2 at midnight Eastern time. Apply now »


Application
To provide Fellows with a support network at their schools, each Fellow is required to have a faculty or administrator sponsor, and schools can have teams of up to four Fellows per training cycle called a Leadership Circle. Read more about the application process »

Training and Events
Fellows take part in a 6-week online training and in-person gatherings such as the annual Silicon Valley Meetup to study their school ecosystems and learn from their new network, mentors, and leaders in academia and industry. Learn more »

Community
The University Innovation Fellows network is active and growing; the program has trained 607 Fellows from 143 schools and is now welcoming students from countries around the world. After Epicenter’s NSF grant ends, Fellows will benefit from the community and connections program’s new home at Stanford University’s d.school. Read about the program’s transition »

By joining this program, Fellows gain skills that benefit them in their careers. Most importantly, they learn to inspire others and to make a positive, lasting impact in the education of others.

For more information, email Katie Dzugan.

Prototyping to Prove a Concept

Impact story: Tanner Wheadon, Technology Management major, Utah Valley University

tanner-web

One year ago, after he completed his University Innovation Fellows training, Tanner Wheadon from Utah Valley University met with his campus stakeholders and proposed the creation of a makerspace. Tanner had experienced the power of making and prototyping spaces through his work with the Fellows and his visit to Stanford University’s d.school and the Google Garage. The stakeholders were supportive of the idea and told Tanner that it would be added to the school’s long-term plans. As an undergraduate, Tanner knew that he might not be there to see his idea come to fruition. So instead of creating a space where students could learn prototyping, design thinking and other skills and mindsets, Tanner took the makerspace to the students.

“Of course it’s fun to have a big, sexy innovative space, but what do I really need to teach students?” Tanner said, recalling his thought process. “I need Sharpies, I need Post-It notes, and I need rapid prototyping supplies.”

With $750, he created a mobile prototyping cart and filled it with inexpensive materials. He designed a curriculum and proposed a plan to teach design thinking in a general education course that would be taught to 1,500 students each year. In Fall 2015, Tanner spent the semester rolling his prototyping cart around campus to teach students design thinking.

In January 2016, Tanner taught a six-hour design thinking workshop in a meeting that included Utah Valley president Matthew S. Holland and 25 members of his cabinet, high-level administration and faculty. During the workshop, Tanner led the participants through the design thinking process and helped them apply it to challenges that students and faculty face at the university.

“After the workshop, I talked about how I was applying the process to teach students at our university,” Tanner said. “I told them how I wanted to create a makerspace but we didn’t have the space or funding, and I explained my rationale behind our little prototyping cart. After I presented, I had four people come and offer me space on campus for a makerspace.”

By creating and using the cart — a low-cost alternative to a space — Tanner was able to prototype his idea for a makerspace, test it with faculty and students, collect evidence of need and impact, and share the results with his stakeholders.

“I finally got all of the right people in the room,” Tanner said. “It was a testament of the power of using a prototype to prove a concept.”

 

Learn more:

Read about Tanner Wheadon: universityinnovation.org/wiki/Tanner_Wheadon

Tanner tells the story about how he created his mobile prototyping cart:

Tanner discusses his mobile prototyping cart and his general education curriculum:

Elements of a mobile prototyping cart: universityinnovation.org/wiki/How_to_build_and_outfit_an_on-campus_innovation_space#Prototyping_Rack

150 Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

PRESS RELEASE

(October 26, 2015) – 150 students from 52 higher education institutions have been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter).

The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. Fellows work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future and make a positive impact on the world.

To accomplish this, the Fellows advocate for lasting institutional change and create opportunities for students to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity at their schools. Fellows design innovation spaces, start entrepreneurship organizations, host experiential learning events and work with faculty to develop new courses. Fellows who joined the program in the 2014-15 academic year held 112 events and established 35 spaces at their schools.

The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell.

“We’ve trained over 450 students at 130 institutions in the last four years,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program. “Faculty and administrators are funding a consistent supply of students to go through the program because they can count on Fellows to make a big impact. Fellows understand the big picture and use their resourcefulness, creativity and national network to make measurable gains on campus, both in the number of resources and the students served by the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

“It’s been so inspiring to see these changes at such a large scale,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program. “The Fellows themselves are learning to be leaders and creative problems solvers, and they’re bringing other students along with them on this journey to make a positive difference at their schools and in their communities.”

Individual Fellows as well as institutional teams of Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators and selected through an application process twice annually. Following acceptance into the program, schools fund the students to go through six weeks of online training and travel to the University Innovation Fellows Annual Meetup in Silicon Valley. Throughout the year, they take part in events and conferences across the country and have opportunities to learn from one another, Epicenter mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.

The new Fellows join the program from the following schools:

  • Bucknell University
  • California State University, Northridge
  • Clemson University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Furman University
  • George Fox University
  • George Mason University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Grand Valley State University
  • James Madison University
  • Kent State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Morgan State University
  • New Mexico State University
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • North Dakota State University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Purdue University
  • Rockhurst University
  • Skidmore College
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Temple University
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Portland
  • University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez
  • University of the Virgin Islands
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington State University
  • Western Michigan University
  • Wichita State University
  • William Jewell College
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

This year, the University Innovation Fellows launched a national STEM initiative called #uifresh (University Innovation Freshmen). Participating institutions are exposing incoming first-year students to innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity in order to attract and retain more students in STEM disciplines. The initiative was launched in March 2015, during the White House Science Fair, and 20 schools held activities for new students during orientation in August and September. Read more about the schools and their activities at http://bit.ly/uifresh-news.

This November, students will have the opportunity to participate in two University Innovation Fellows Regional Meetups at Kent State University and James Madison University. These events are designed by Fellows at a host school and attract Fellows from nearby states as well as other local students. The events feature local thought-leaders and showcase the school’s efforts to promote  innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

Learn more about the University Innovation Fellows at http://universityinnovationfellows.org/.

 

About Epicenter:
The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at epicenter.stanford.edu.

About Stanford University:
At Stanford University, the Epicenter collaboration is managed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center in Stanford’s School of Engineering. STVP delivers courses and extracurricular programs to Stanford students, creates scholarly research on high-impact technology ventures, and produces a large and growing collection of online content and experiences for people around the world. Visit us online at stvp.stanford.edu.

About VentureWell:
VentureWell was founded in 1995 as the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and rebranded in 2014 to underscore its impact as an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions. A not-for-profit organization reaching more than 200 universities, VentureWell is a leader in funding, training, coaching and early investment that brings student innovations to market. Inventions created by VentureWell grantees are reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve some of our greatest 21st century challenges. Visit www.venturewell.org to learn how we inspire students, faculty and investors to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.

 

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

 

Hosts for this year’s fall regional meetups are…

 

Drumroll please…

If you guessed Kent State University and James Madison University, YOU’RE RIGHT! We’re extremely excited to be co-hosting the University Innovation Fellows regional meetups with both campuses this fall. Regional meetups are designed for Fellows to further activate their learnings from training; build and enhance in-person relationships with Fellows in their region; create cross-institution collaborations; and energize the campus and community surrounding the host campus through the work of Fellows.

You’re invited to join us at the following events:

 

Kent State University Regional Meetup: Bring Your Own Discipline

November 6-8, 2015

REGISTER HERE FOR KENT’S REGIONAL MEETUP

 

https://countingdownto.com

 

 

James Madison University Regional Meetup: Own it. Do it.

November 14-15, 2015

REGISTER HERE FOR JMU’S REGIONAL MEETUP

 

countingdownto.com

 


 

See you soon!
The UIF Team and KSU & JMU Fellows

P.S. Additional regional meetups are being held in the spring, too, so don’t worry if you can’t make one these or if one of these options aren’t in your region. 

 

Orientation Forward: Beginning the Jewell Journey with Creativity and Innovation

“Here, we dream in verbs.” Bradley Dice, a University Innovation Fellow from William Jewell College, shares his perspective on an event his team held for the incoming class of students as part of Epicenter’s #uifresh initiative.

Sentences written by William Jewell's Class of 2019 in the "I Will" exercise.

Sentences written by William Jewell’s Class of 2019 in the “I Will” exercise.

by Bradley Dice
University Innovation Fellow, William Jewell College
This article was originally posted on medium.com.

On Tuesday, August 25, University Innovation Fellows from William Jewell College hosted an Orientation workshop for the incoming class of students. This workshop is William Jewell’s first major event for #uifresh (University Innovation Freshmen), a nationwide initiative announced in March as a part of the White House Science Fair. The #uifresh initiative calls upon institutions of higher education to expose first-year students to design thinking, entrepreneurship, and innovation in order to attract and retain more students in STEM-related disciplines.

University Innovation Fellows candidates Trevor Nicks, Benjamin Shinogle, and Macy Tush introduced students to Design Thinking with methods from Stanford's renowned d.school.

University Innovation Fellows candidates Trevor Nicks, Benjamin Shinogle, and Macy Tush introduced students to Design Thinking with methods from Stanford’s renowned d.school.

As first-year students enter college, they are embarking on their own Jewell Journey. This “Journey” concept is a holistic view of a William Jewell education: cultivating critical thought, encouraging academic inquiry by engaging big ideas and conducting scholarly research, offering service and leadership as citizens within a local and a global context, and engaging the challenges of our world (philosophical, political, economic, social, scientific, and more) to make and implement meaning for ourselves and others.

Across these four adventurous years of college, it’s easy to adopt a “checklist” mentality. Each day of class is one step closer to the real world. Instead, what if we brought the real world into our education? What if we catalyzed a culture of self-starters, fearless and uninhibited innovators who view their education in more than a classroom setting and as more than a degree? How do we equip first-year students with the skills they need to make their dreams into reality? We asked them to share their vision for their Jewell Journey.

University Innovation Fellow Bradley Dice worked alongside faculty Ian Coleman, Blane Baker, and Shelly McVay to discuss the importance of mentorship and dreaming big from Day One.

University Innovation Fellow Bradley Dice worked alongside faculty Ian Coleman, Blane Baker, and Shelly McVay to discuss the importance of mentorship and dreaming big from Day One.

The “I Will” activity helped students put words to their ambitious visions. They crafted statements of their goals that will cascade and resonate through the layers of planning, purpose-finding, discovery, and self-exploration that occur across four years at William Jewell. Students began mapping their dreams to concrete resources like Journey Grants, academic clubs and social groups on campus, connections in Kansas City, and more. Discovering these doors of opportunity can be intensely challenging for a new student, so our rockstar faculty and University Innovation Fellows team provided insight on how to get connected, find mentors, and begin this Journey with the knowledge that their peers and professors are by their side every step of the way.

As University Innovation Fellows at William Jewell, we have begun to explore the intersection of liberal arts education with innovation, entrepreneurship, and design thinking. We are developing “maker” mindsets in socially-aware citizens, layering human-centered design on top of world-ready problem solvers, and catalyzing both deep expertise and broad experiences for our students at William Jewell. To learn more about our efforts, just reach out.

 

BradleyDice_Headshot

About the author: 

University Innovation Fellow Bradley Dice is a scientist, software developer, and advocate of open data. Currently a senior at William Jewell College in Kansas City, he is triple-majoring in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics, and holds a strong passion for improving scientific methodology and business analytics through technology.

 

Do-Think-Make: Engage in Design Thinking & Creativity at Texas Tech

The Texas Tech University Innovation Fellows, composed of Marshall Head, Victoria Young, Valente Rodriguez, Taylor Persons, Francis Atore and Benjamin Simmons, were able to host an innovative thinking event on their university campus called Do-Think-Make. This event was similar to the activities at the recent University Innovation Fellows 2015 Annual Meetup.

The goal of the Do-Think-Make event was to:

  1. Encourage cross-pollination of ideas and information between students of different backgrounds
  2. Help students overcome the challenges brought about by being in unfamiliar situations and environments
  3. Show a fun and exciting way design thinking could be presented

Event participants composed of 40 students from the Honors College, engineering, wind sciences and South Plains College. The Do-Think-Make event was sponsored by the Edward E. Whitacre College of Engineering, National Wind Institute, Honors College, Group NIRE and South Plains College.

Held on April 18th from 10 am to 2 pm, the Do-Think-Make event began with a rock paper scissors warm-up, whereby the loser became a fan of the winning team until only two teams are left at the end. The students also took part in a table activity where they were asked to come up with eight ways to improve the innovative ecosystem on their campus. They then chose an idea they liked best and expanded on the idea. The table then voted on one another’s idea and the table clustered as a team around the idea with the most votes. The final idea was then graphically prototyped and pitched by the table to the rest of the groups. It was observed that innovative spaces were a popular theme, with 60% of the groups choosing it as their project of choice.

The students were then engaged in a creative sound exercise where they imitated and created new sounds with their peers, namely sound ball. Sound ball had the highest reviews, due to the fact that it initiated the most laughs and challenges. STEM majors do not often practice sound creation and imitation, and may be one reason it was the most challenging; however, it was also named as the “most fun” portion of the overall event.

At the end, as the students were taking part in a maker space design challenge, that constituted a physical prototype, we were joined by a member of the community who is currently in the process of building a community maker space. This member of the community was able to witness the raw energy of the students as they conveyed their needs and interests. The community maker space, namely Ubiquitous Labs, is envisioned to promote local entrepreneurs and complement design education in the local schools. The event then ended with a wind turbine challenge where students were given 45 minutes to design a wind turbine for a building.

The amount of ideas and prototypes generated within the 5 hour period was immense, but even more important were the bonds that were generated and ideas that were exchanged. It is currently a great time for the Lubbock community, as new technologies and practices emerge. Companies such as Wayne Brown Institute are collaborating with emerging startups to help them understand their venture readiness, while organizations such as Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) are providing resources and incentives to retain innovative businesses. As departmental and community stakeholders continue to merge their strengths, the region will continue to grow, resulting in a lasting positive impact.

Penned by the South Plains College & Texas Tech University Innovation Fellows

/pen/ verb. past tense: penned
write or compose.

Spaces for Innovation: 12 Suggestions

Google “space for innovation” and several hundred results will show up. The difference between this piece and others is that I compiled it on my flight back to Milwaukee and after visiting some of the most inspiring innovation spaces in Silicon Valley. Without further ado, I would like to present to you, 12 architectural suggestions to make a space for innovation:

  1. Increase Density, Involve Catalysts

Increasing density while involving a catalyst brings about more successful collisions. In Chemical Kinetics, this is known as the Collision Theory. In the physical space, magnets (physical or programmatic features that attract people to a place, e.g. food) and anchors (physical or programmatic features that keep people in a place, e.g. comfy chairs) can increase density while triangulators (physical or programmatic features that prompt people to talk to each other, e.g. art) can act as catalysts.

1

  1. Allow Controlled Environmental Improvisation

People need to be able to adjust the environment to control the functional, visual, and auditory properties of space. Yet, flexible spaces seem to be most productive when coupled with subtle instructions inspired by best practices. Such spaces allow people to create different configurations within an effective framework. The best practices framework can be conveyed through the weight of the furniture, degree of transparency in dividers and partitions, ceiling height, shape of the room, the mood of the space, resources provided in space, the direction of rails/racks for moveable whiteboards/partitions, the direction of spatial expansions and contractions, etc.

2

  1. Sync the Space with the Medium

The terms ‘lean back’ and ‘lean forward’ are referred to two styles of engagement with the media. Lean back engagement is mostly associated with ‘high absorption’ and happens when we are watching TV, reading a book, using tablets, flipping through a magazine, etc. Lean forward engagement is mostly associated with ‘high activity’ and happens when we are using the web, writing on white boards, working with a desktop, etc. It is important to sync the space with the media that encourage lean back, lean forward, or the fusion between the two (double/triple viewing).

3

  1. Use the Space to Syncopate a Rhythm for the Community

Good space design corresponds to the choreography of complementary community events such as: whole community gatherings and small-group breakout sessions, exposure to a wide range of ideas and focus on specific problems, idea-sharing forums and tool-building projects, conceptual theorizing and hands-on prototyping, etc.

4

  1. Strategic Juxtaposition

It is always important to provide a wide range of spatial and experiential opportunities corresponding to different states of innovative process: prototyping, reflecting, brainstorming, iteration, ideation, etc. Yet, what is even more important is the tapestry of these spatial and experiential opportunities. Strategic juxtaposition refers to creating an effective tapestry: programmatically neutral space adjacent to heavily programmed space, experientially restorative nook located in high intensity work area, alternative areas of light and dark to increase emphasis on certain locations, etc.

5

  1. Create a Collective Understanding of the Aesthetics of the Work

Most art and design schools tend to publicly display models, drawings, projects, and other artifacts that are produced in the community.  Doing so, members of the community participate in creating a collective understanding of their culture by reproducing the clues that they receive from their surroundings on a daily basis: subtle details that make a great painting, a language to talk about surreal movies, graphic techniques to make political posters, etc. A good space is expressive of the community’s culture and a living gallery of its practices.

6

  1. Provide Opportunities to Break Away from the Collective Understanding Explained in No. 6

In response to Google’s query about best environments for innovation, the Co-founder of Terraform One Mitchell Joachim writes: “Design is seeing new qualities in everyday objects. We surround ourselves with these seemingly random items to be inspired just so. Our working studio is similar to the toymaker’s shop in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner – a physical narrative of possibilities ready to be animated.”

7

  1. Provide Jottable Surfaces that Move

People never know when and where ideas might strike. Some ideas are volatile and need to be rendered in diagrams or transcribed before they are forgotten. This requires for jottable surfaces to be everywhere. Moreover, making these surfaces as mobile as possible facilitates the cross-pollination of ideas, sharing, and brainstorming.

8

  1. Desk +

Desks and tables should be thought of resourceful objects that actively contribute to the ecology of innovation. Whiteboards, storage spaces, power and cable outlets, lighting, wheels, etc. are features that can be incorporated to desks and tables with different types and sizes in order for them to become smarter objects.

9

  1. Adjust the Mood of the Space

To be innovative, people should be encouraged to dream big, don’t hold back ideas, tinker and play, test their ideas, and don’t fear the failure. Accordingly, the mood of the space should be playful, leveler, rustic, casual, experimental, and show bias towards action.

10

  1. Create Peripheral Conditions

Most communities are consisted of both core and peripheral members. Peripheral members maintain a connection but are not as engaged and committed as core members. They are valuable potential core members who have a unique and useful insight about the community. Yet, space is often designed to address the needs and behaviors of core members. Peripheral participation requires a degree of permeability in space to provide legitimate access to resources, low-intensity engagement, or even non-participant observation of the work process.

11

  1. Use Data-driven Evaluation Strategies to Inform the Use of Space

That!

-Amin Mojtahedi, University Innovation Fellow ’15

Amin Mojtahedi, of Univeristy of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Amin Mojtahedi, of Univeristy of Wisconsin Milwaukee

 

This article was written by Amin Mojtahedi, a University Innovation Fellow at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Amin is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Architecture and a Researcher-Designer at Workshop Architects. See his full bio here.

#uifresh Announcement March 23, 2015

Update on #uifresh here: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/20-colleges-and-universities-launch-innovative-orientation-activities-to-retain-stem-students/

For Immediate Release

March 23, 2015
Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

University Innovation Fellows launch #uifresh campaign to attract and retain first-year students to STEM majors

March 23, 2015 — Today, the University Innovation Fellows launched a campaign to expose all incoming freshmen at a school to the types of experiences in design thinking, entrepreneurship, and innovation that will attract and retain more incoming students in the STEM disciplines.

According to a report published by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology [1], about 60 percent of students who arrive at college intending to major in STEM subjects switch to other subjects, often in their first year. To combat this trend, the University Innovation Fellows program is partnering with 10 universities and colleges to launch “#uifresh” (University Innovation Freshmen).

The #uifresh campaign is being launched as part of a White House collection of initiatives to further enhance STEM in the United States. The initiatives are being released to coincide with the White House Science Fair on March 23, 2015, to increase nation’s stakeholders’ commitment to expand and enhance STEM activities. View the White House announcement here.

Fact Sheet Screenshot

The University Innovation Fellows program is run by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. The program empowers students to become change agents in higher education who help their peers learn an entrepreneurial mindset and creative confidence.

The Fellows are working with their institutions’ leaders and orientation week organizers to provide learning opportunities that are fun, experiential, creative and lead to increased interest in making an innovation on campus. Fellows were required to secure letters of support from their college and university presidents in order to join the campaign.

Schools involved in the initiative to date include:

Many of the 291 University Innovation Fellows at 115 U.S. schools are working working to gather signatures on campuses in the coming weeks. In preparation for the launch of #uifresh at their schools this Fall, Fellows will work together to determine how the programs will be rolled out at their campuses and share best practices regarding the retention of freshmen in STEM.

Ben Matthews, a University Innovation Fellow from the University of Virginia, and Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the Fellows program for Epicenter, were invited to attend the White House Science Fair to celebrate the launch of the #uifresh campaign. At the fifth White House Science Fair on March 23, President Barack Obama welcomes more than 100 of the nation’s brightest young minds, with some showcasing innovative inventions, discoveries, and science projects.

To learn more about the University Innovation Fellows, visit http://universityinnovationfellows.org/. The program is currently accepting applications for Spring 2016; apply by October 26 at http://universityinnovationfellows.org/apply/application/.

[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-engage-to-excel-final_feb.pdf

Update on #uifresh here: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/20-colleges-and-universities-launch-innovative-orientation-activities-to-retain-stem-students/

About Epicenter:
The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at epicenter.stanford.edu.

About Stanford University:
At Stanford University, the Epicenter collaboration is managed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center in Stanford’s School of Engineering. STVP delivers courses and extracurricular programs to Stanford students, creates scholarly research on high-impact technology ventures, and produces a large and growing collection of online content and experiences for people around the world. Visit us online at stvp.stanford.edu.

About VentureWell:
VentureWell was founded in 1995 as the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and rebranded in 2014 to underscore its impact as an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions. A not-for-profit organization reaching more than 200 universities, VentureWell is the leader in funding, training, coaching and early investment that brings student innovations to market. Inventions created by VentureWell grantees are reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve some of our greatest 21st century challenges. Visit www.venturewell.org to learn how we inspire students, faculty and investors to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.

 

 

 

Related Links

March 2015: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/20150323uifresh/

September 2015: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/20-colleges-and-universities-launch-innovative-orientation-activities-to-retain-stem-students/

About #uifresh: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/uifresh/

 

 

Empowering The Next Silicon Valley

For many of the fellows, the captain announcing the initial descent into San Francisco/San Jose was enough to get our hearts racing. A few weeks back, we had the opportunity to meet our peer Fellows from all around the country, and visit innovative places such as Google, Stanford d. School, and in our spare time, the rest of what Silicon Valley has to offer.

Stanford's d.school

We were all mesmerized by the resources, the opportunities and the networks that were established around the area. But near the end of my trip, I had the chance to head over to East Palo Alto, with poverty and homelessness in unbelievably high density. Even with the classic Silicon Valley iconic dot com boom, there are areas like East Palo Alto which were bypassed. On the flight back home, I had time to consider what this mean to me as a young innovator.

I came to the conclusion that although Silicon Valley is inspiring in and of itself, and many of my peer Fellows are excited to perhaps one day be a part of it, it is also of the utmost importance to empower our youthful innovators and University Innovation Fellows to create the next Silicon Peeyush 4Valley, and deliver unprecedented growth in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) in their own hometowns. This begs the question: What made the tech boom possible in Silicon Valley, and what would it take to mirror the environment in a new burgeoning city?

Innovators, often unintentionally, bullishly attempt to characterize solutions without first understanding the problem. For clarity, think of the jigsaw puzzles you completed as a child. There is a reference picture on the box, providing a sense of an end vision and inspiration, but most importantly, providing a landscape to facilitate the process. Silicon Valley is that picture on the box; when shaping our respective I&E Ecosystem Landscape Canvases, it is common for us to think we are on our own, without any facilitation or guiding end vision. This could not be further from the truth.

Peeyush2The weekend in Silicon Valley with Fellows was a time for collaboration, design thinking and the discussion of a variety of different exciting platforms and initiatives for empowering our movement for growth. But let it be known that there is a reference picture on the figurative box of our movement. It is tech hubs like Silicon Valley, that give us a sense of an end vision – a vision for where the next innovation boom will occur, whether it be in clean energy, biotech or even liberal arts education on college campuses. But just as it is in East Palo Alto, the picture is blurred. There are areas that innovation seemed to bypass, and the people and economy suffer tremendously. It is the burden of us Fellows to begin putting together the puzzle, while also shedding light on the blurred area of the picture.

It is time for the next Silicon Valley to be born; for a new picture to emerge, and for the picture to be clearer than ever before. The next gold standard could be in Ohio, South Carolina, or Idaho. And it would be safe to bet that a University Innovation Fellow would be behind that project.

Consider this a call. A call for action. A call for the next Silicon Valley. A better Silicon Valley, and a better world for it.

-Peeyush Shrivastava, University Innovation Fellow ’15

Peeyush_Shrivastava_OhioStateUniversity




Peeyush Shrivastava is a Biomedical Science major (Economics Minor) at The Ohio State University, and a passionate innovator and entrepreneur working on developing and commercializing a pipeline of diagnostic solutions. An avid researcher and enthusiast of science and youthful innovation, Peeyush hopes to bring a new era of student bioscience innovation with his role as a Fellow at Ohio State. See his full profile here.

Change Agents Activated

Students take the lead in the evolution of higher education at the University Innovation Fellows 2015 Annual Meetup. Originally posted via Epicenter

by Laurie Moore

At 8:00 pm on Saturday, February 21, the second day of the University Innovation Fellows 2015 Annual Meetup was drawing to a close. Nearly 160 Fellows from across the U.S. had just participated in a 12-hour day of activities at Stanford University, including a one-hour movement workshop, a self-guided tour of campus to discover innovation spaces, and a four-hour, five-session circuit of experiential activities.

They should have been tired.

Instead, they sang karaoke together. They danced. They played basketball outside in the warm (to the East Coasters) evening air. They made s’mores around a fire pit and told their favorite stories from the day. They took selfies and gathered in small groups to learn more about one another and their schools. When the buses came at 9:30 pm to take the students back to their hotels, they demanded one final karaoke song, and then another.

It was hard to believe that these University Innovation Fellows met for the first time as a community only 48 hours earlier.

The University Innovation Fellows program, run by Epicenter, offers training and support for students to become change agents at their schools. Through the training and ongoing support, Fellows learn to navigate their campus landscapes and create offerings that hone peers’ entrepreneurial mindsets and instill creative confidence.

Fellows on the last day of the Annual Meetup at Stanford's d.school.

Fellows on the last day of the Annual Meetup at Stanford’s d.school.

While many Fellows had met online during their intense 6-week video-conference-based training, the Annual Meetup allowed them to connect in person for the first time. Together, they had the opportunity to share experiences and insights from their schools, collaborate on new strategies for change in education, understand their role in this national movement, and learn from leaders in higher education and industry.

The Fellows at the 2015 Meetup were from two cohorts trained in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015. Also in attendance were 12 of the Fellows’ faculty sponsors, who who were invited to attend and participate alongside students as partners in achieving institutional change.

The Meetup was organized by the University Innovation Fellows program staff at Epicenter: Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, Humera Fasihuddin, Katie Dzugan and Laurie Moore. Eight Fellows assisted with the design and facilitation of the event and hosted several sessions: Atin Mittra, Meenu Singh and Valerie Sherry from the University of Maryland, College Park; Greg Wilson from the University of Georgia; Ryan Phillips from the University of Oklahoma; Bre Przestrzelski from Clemson University; Ben Riddle from Furman University; and new Fellow Bradley Dice from William Jewell College.

AletaSession2015

Rhythm of a Movement

 

 

 

 

 

The event spanned three days. The first day at Google was hosted by Frederik Pferdt, head of Innovation and Creativity Programs at Google. Activities included an inside look into Google X with Amanda Kelly, a design challenge in teams, a panel discussion with representatives from People Development at Google, a spaces tour, and a talk on Google for Entrepreneurs with Daniel Navarro.

The second and third days of the Meetup took place at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). Sessions on Saturday included a leadership through movement session with Stanford Dance and Performance Arts instructor Aleta Hayes, an exploration of Stanford innovation spaces, a talk with Olga Dotter from Citrix on the intersection of lean startup and design thinking, a circuit of five experiential activities, and a workshop to help students create and facilitate similar activities at their schools.

Sunday activities included a panel with educators and students on new models of education, examples of campus initiatives from current Fellows, and a workshop on how students can accelerate change in higher education. Several special guests stopped by the meetup, including Stanford alumnus and violinist Kai Kight and author and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki.

Surprise guest: Kai Kight

Surprise guest: Kai Kight

At the end of the event, Fellows shared their insights from the event in the form of sticky note “bumper stickers” which they placed on a life-size, hand-painted University Innovation Fellows Volkswagen van. Examples included “Never give up,” “Think, Do, Fail, Learn,” “Innovation or Bust,” and “Be the change.”

After the three-day event ended, Fellows returned to their campuses. Their charge: to be the change they want to see in higher education.

Fellows Bus after creating bumper stickers.

Fellows Bus after creating bumper stickers.

More 2015 Annual Meetup materials and articles:

Talking With America’s Future: Removing Barriers, by Shawn Drury http://bluenationreview.com/talking-americas-future-removing-barriers/

Event photo gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epicenterusa/sets/72157650907065066/

Meet the changemakers: map of student attendees at the University Innovation Fellows Annual Meetup 2015: http://prezi.com/ahoz-sfvstdd/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

 

123 U.S. Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2015

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

123 U.S. Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

(February 24, 2015) — 123 students from 51 U.S. higher education institutions have been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter).

The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. The Fellows are a national community of students in engineering and related fields who work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future. To accomplish this, the Fellows advocate for lasting institutional change and create opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation at their schools.

This new cohort of Fellows brings the total number to 291 Fellows from 114 schools. The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA).

“In today’s competitive economy, it is critical for all students to learn an entrepreneurial mindset, which helps them learn to be resilient, creative and empathetic,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program. “Students need to leave school better prepared to tackle our world’s big problems and create new and fulfilling jobs for themselves and others.”

“Our program provides a platform for Fellows to learn to be strategic thinkers, examine the landscape of learning opportunities at their schools, and formulate action plans to implement their ideas,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-leader of the Fellows program and Deputy Director of Epicenter. “Fellows develop a community and share strategies about what’s working at their schools. Ultimately, these students, with their drive and motivation, are leading accelerated change in higher education.”

Individual Fellows as well as teams of Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators at their schools and selected through an application process twice annually. Following acceptance into the program, schools fund the students to go through six weeks of online training and travel to the University Innovation Fellows Annual Meetup in Silicon Valley. Throughout the year, they take part in events and conferences across the country and have opportunities to learn from one another, Epicenter mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.

Fellows have created design and maker spaces, founded entrepreneurship clubs and organizations, worked with faculty to design new courses, and hosted events and workshops. In the last academic year alone, Fellows created 553 activities, 22 new spaces and 65 innovation and entrepreneurship resources at their schools.

“Over the course of the program, we’ve seen Fellows have a powerful impact on student engagement and campus culture at a national scale,” Fasihuddin said. “Word of their success has attracted more than 50 institutions for this new cohort. We’re thrilled to see the impact of the new Fellows in the year ahead.”

The new Fellows gathered in Silicon Valley on February 20-22, 2015, for their annual meeting, where they took part in immersive experiences at Google and Stanford University. At the event, Fellows participated in experiential workshops and exercises focused on topics including movement building, student innovation spaces, design of learning experiences, and new models of change in higher education. They engaged with leaders in academia and industry from Google, Google for Entrepreneurs, Stanford University, and Citrix, among others. Additional information and photos from the event are available upon request.

Learn more about the University Innovation Fellows at http://epicenter.stanford.edu/university-innovation-fellows.

About Epicenter:
The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at epicenter.stanford.edu.

About Stanford University:
At Stanford University, the Epicenter collaboration is managed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center in Stanford’s School of Engineering. STVP delivers courses and extracurricular programs to Stanford students, creates scholarly research on high-impact technology ventures, and produces a large and growing collection of online content and experiences for people around the world. Visit us online at stvp.stanford.edu.

About VentureWell:
VentureWell was founded in 1995 as the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and rebranded in 2014 to underscore its impact as an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions. A not-for-profit organization reaching more than 200 universities, VentureWell is the leader in funding, training, coaching and early investment that brings student innovations to market. Inventions created by VentureWell grantees are reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve some of our greatest 21st century challenges. Visit www.venturewell.org to learn how we inspire students, faculty and investors to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.

 

A Trip to Georgia Tech

Amin Mojtahedi,  UW Milwaukee

Amin Mojtahedi, UW Milwaukee

 


This article was written by Amin Mojtahedi, a University Innovation Fellow Candidate at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Amin is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Architecture and was visiting the Georgia Tech campus for one week at the end of January. See his full bio here
.

 

 

As part of an architectural study for Georgia Tech (GT), I had the chance to spend the entire last week on the GT campus exploring places related to the landscape of innovation and entrepreneurship

Georgia Tech Invention Studio

Georgia Tech Invention Studio

(I&E). One of my most memorable visits was to the Invention Studio at the Manufacturing Related Disciplines Complex where Alexis, a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering, gave me a comprehensive tour of the facility. The Invention Studio was a student-run maker space where the opportunity for students to design, prototype and share was provided through workshops, experienced student “masters” in about 13 areas, and access to a wide range of materials and impressive cutting edge machinery including computer controlled machines (e.g., 3D printers, 3D scanners, laser engraving and cutting machines, waterjet, etc.), powered manual machines (e.g., bandsaw, injection molding, drill press, etc.) electronics equipment, and hand tools. In the fifth year of its operation, the Invention Studio has about 170 members and is opening branches in other schools on campus. Despite the rapid growth, members still bond over video games and move nights in the comfy lounge equipped with a large screen right across the Studio.

Amin_PicCollage1

IDClogo

Innovation & Design Collaborative, Georgia Tech

Perhaps the most exciting part of the trip was meeting the GT three UIFs: Megna, a 5th year Biomedical Engineer; Alex, a 3rd year Mechanical Engineer; and Rachel, a 5th year Biomedical Engineer. We all first met at the Starbucks in the architecturally impressive Clough Learning Commons. Later, Megna and Alex kindly gave me a complete tour of the Innovation & Design Collaborative in the GT library. IDC, or Design Block as Megna liked to call it, was an intelligently designed 4,000 sqf space with a variety of furniture from playful foam cubes to customized tall studio-like desks for group work. A Unistrut ceiling and racks provide drop-down access to electrical utility for users to be able to plug in while being in their desired spot and white boards were everywhere. With Wayne Li’s help, the space and program were designed after Stanford’s d.school. I concluded the tour by participating in Wayne’s class on Contextual Awareness – as one of the five tenets the 21st century creative thinker can use to disrupt markets and drive innovation. IDC’s space is open to GT students 24/7 and is currently holding workshops while providing resources for learning Design Behavior.

Amin_PicCollage2

 

 

 

 

Be the Hustle, Not a Part of it

Students found brainstorming in the School of Architecture.

Students brainstorming in the School of Architecture.

by Jaime Arribas Starkey-El
University Innovation Fellow, Morgan State University

On December 7, the Sunday before the start of finals week, Morgan State University students gathered for the first ever Be Your Own Boss (BYOB) Summit. The four-hour event was planned and facilitated by the Morgan Entrepreneurship Society Executive Board and their faculty advisor.

 In order to create buzz for the event, large neon brainstorming posters were strategically placed around Morgan State’s campus. The posters asked what came to mind when one heard words like Innovation or Entrepreneurship. The responses that were generated gave valuable insight into the creative minds of Morgan students, contributing significantly to the planning of BYOB.

 The event kicked off with active sessions that cultivated a spirited, attentive, and friendly atmosphere. First was a modified game of rock, paper, scissors. The game showed students that just because you don’t have your way, doesn’t mean you can’t be a winner. Next, students were given random topics from “renewable energy” to “Kanye West” and asked to brainstorm what came to mind when they heard that word (similar to the posters placed around the school). The students then played an adapted version of musical chairs in which they mingled to gain new perspectives for their topics.

Attendees trading ideas for their topics.

Attendees trading ideas for their topics

After a few rotations, attendees were asked “How might we draw connections between two card topics that may not typically be thought to relate?” Following this question, the students were split into random teams and tasked to form “creative collisions” for new venture ideas using their topics. After 10 minutes of synthesizing and devising, they then competed in a pitch competition. The winning group managed to turn “Nelson Mandela” and “Facebook” into an app that helps people find mineral markets in developing nations.

Attendees forming creative collisions.

Attendees forming creative collisions.

That session was preceded by a presentation on Being Your Own Boss. Attendees explored the differences between a hustler and an entrepreneur and why they should strive to “be the hustle” rather than be a part of it. They were shown how the lean business model canvas serves as a framework for startups to discover a profitable, sustainable business.  The attendees were also shown how the canvas could help them make efficient lifestyle choices, identify their major, volunteer their time, manage their budget, identify semester goals, or even choose a career. To conclude, they identified their startup type (small business, social, scalable, etc…) and learned about Moonshot ideas.

After the presentation, attendees participated in a lengthy entrepreneur/CEO panel discussion. The panel consisted of Marvin Johnson, a Morgan State alum who is the founder of an IT services firm, Justhink45, and Chiko Abengowe, the CEO and Founder of Perfect Office Solutions. Some key takeaways included the importance of building a strong network, maintaining a work-life balance, and identifying application-based platforms for managing ventures.

Entrepreneur Panel Session featuring Marvin Johnson of justhink45 and Chiko Abengowe of Perfect Office Solutions.

Entrepreneur Panel Session featuring Marvin Johnson of Justhink45 and Chiko Abengowe of Perfect Office Solutions.

 All in all, the event was a success despite the creative constraints of a 2 week planning process  and the removal of most of the brainstorming posters around campus. Both undergraduate and graduate students were in attendance and many majors were represented. It was good to see a lot of interdisciplinary collaboration taking place. The event showed students the power of working with like-minded colleagues in the realm of entrepreneurship. Students reported that they were inspired and never thought they could be so productive in such a short time. The BYOB is solid evidence that Morgan students are ready to participate in the creative economy, take direct control of their futures, and become their own bosses.

The Be Your Own Boss Summit was led by Morgan State University’s Entrepreneurship Society, below. Pictured left to right: Jaime Arribas Starkey-El (University Innovation Fellow), Iyanna Patterson (Secretary), Mareco Edwards (Treasurer), Chiko Abengowe (Perfect Solutions), Marvin Johnson (Justhink45), Mary Foster (Entrepreneurship Society Advisor), Adrien Feudjio (Vice President)

Morgan Entrepreneurship Society and guest speakers, Marvin Johnson and Chiko Abengowe.

Morgan Entrepreneurship Society and guest speakers, Marvin Johnson and Chiko Abengowe.

 

Fellow Jaime Arribas Starkey-ElAbout the author:

Jaime Arribas Starkey-El is a University Innovation Fellow at Morgan State University. Jaime has a strong passion for the possibilities of creativity and innovation. He loves to learn, he loves to discover, and he always wants to know more. As a Fellow, Jaime has worked to increase the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit on campus. His current goal is to bring a dedicated ICE (innovation, commercialization, and entrpreneurship) center to his campus. For more information, you can find a full bio here, along with his student priorities for Morgan State.

Sponsors Crash Fellows Meetup: A Faculty Glimpse into the Student Movement

The following post is a reflection of two faculty sponsors: Landon Young of William Jewell College (Missouri) and John Santa Lucia of Wayne State University (Michigan). Both faculty sponsors had the pleasure of joining Fellows at two separate meetups; the first was the Southeastern Regional Meetup in Greenville, South Carolina, from October 3 – 4, 2014 and the second was the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup in College Park, Maryland, and Washington D.C. from November 1 – 2, 2014. Each meetup had a unique theme dedicated to the strengths of the universities being represented and the resources within local community relationships. 

Southeastern Regional Meetup

John Santa Lucia (right), Fellows Faculty Sponsor;  Professor at Wayne State University and Owner, DNA Software, Inc.; Southeastern Regional Meetup

John Santa Lucia (right), Fellows Faculty Sponsor; Professor at Wayne State University and Owner, DNA Software, Inc.; Southeastern Regional Meetup

It takes a special person to be an entrepreneur. It takes courage, vision, innovation, optimism, energy, perseverance, team building, leadership, and technical skill. Few people have the winning combination of skills needed for success. However, three students from Wayne State University — Nikolas Upton, Siwatu Sanders, and Pradeep Bhat — have these skills in spades. All three of them successfully completed the training for the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program. Nationwide, only 168 students have completed the program to date.

As a faculty sponsor, it is a privilege to mentor Nik, Siwatu and Pradeep. I have been working with them to refine their business ideas and their ideas for spreading entrepreneurship at Wayne State through business short courses and the creation of a “maker space” for 3D printing, prototyping and fabrication. The capstone event for the UIF training was a regional meeting October 3-4 in Greenville, SC. This was attended by 68 students from throughout the U.S. and our hosts from Clemson and Furman University were wonderful. I was thrilled to be able to participate in this event.

John Santa Lucia, Southeastern Regional Meetup

John Santa Lucia during dancing (!!!) activity; Faculty Sponsor, Wayne State University

We started out at 9:00 PM with an overnight road trip from Detroit to South Carolina. The road trip itself was a great opportunity to have extended conversations with the students. Their energy and optimism is infectious. At the UIF meeting we were treated to some wonderful talks from local entrepreneurs and various instructional games from the Design Thinking Group. The students participated in several workshops that involved brainstorming business ideas in small groups, making elevator pitches, writing business plans, dancing (!!!), and performing real marketing research by performing polls of people on Main Street. As a faculty sponsor, I had great fun mostly observing the incredible creativity of the students. It was also fun to jump in and offer some guidance and to ask some probative questions.

I love the social idealism of this generation. Most of their business ideas involve socially conscious issues such as care of the elderly, how to deal with student loan debt, green technologies for energy and waste disposal, engineering prosthetic devices for handicapped people, and engineering clean water for poor countries. One of the unique aspects of the regional meeting was that the structure of the meeting was engaging, instructional and FUN! Quite different than the usual classroom didactic. I think that more faculty sponsors should be encouraged to go to these meetings so that they can import some of the entrepreneurial ideas into their curricula. Entrepreneurs like Nik, Siwatu, and Pradeep give me optimism for the future of our country.

John SantaLucia
Professor and UIF faculty sponsor, Wayne State University

Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup

I am thrilled that I chose to attend the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) Mid-Atlantic Meetup at the University of Maryland with my students! It was a provocative weekend that helped me to better understand the goals and activities of Epicenter and the UIF program. I was able to experience the activities with students first-hand, and this shared experience reinforced the bond with students and gave us a shared vocabulary, vision and purpose.

The hands-on activities gave the students experience in materializing their ideas into tangible products and designs, and we all had a blast laughing at ourselves as we fashioned virtual reality wearables out of fuzzy pipe cleaners!

Landon Young (left), Faculty Sponsor, William Jewell College

Landon Young (left) during the creativity circuit; Faculty Sponsor, William Jewell College

The meetup took several serious turns as well. As a group, we discussed national trends and specific ideas for William Jewell College, including an outline that we developed for changes in the student curriculum. The most meaningful take-away for the students was being guided into a mindset of empathy, which gave them insight into other points of view, including the perspective of a customer, a friend, and an administrator on campus.

As a faculty member and advisor, I was able to meet the staff and organizers from Epicenter. Over the course of the two-day gathering, I saw the passion and knowledge that they brought to the table and learned the specific methodologies that they use. This group of driven and focused individuals guided the students with care and gave specific as-needed instruction to each Fellow. The group accomplished so much together, and I left inspired by the relationships forged and the innovative dialogue we shared. I cannot wait for the next meetup when I can join students and advisors in shaping the next phase of the UIF program.

Landon Young
Professor and UIF faculty sponsor, William Jewell College

Fellows Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup: University of Maryland and Washington D.C.

Originally published by Epicenter

PRESS RELEASE: NATIONAL STUDENT ORGANIZATION HOSTS EVENT ON INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN HIGHER EDUCATION

The University Innovation Fellows Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup will take place November 1 – 2, 2014, at the University of Maryland and in downtown Washington, DC.

October 28, 2014

The University Innovation Fellows, a national student organization, will host a regional event at the University of Maryland and in downtown Washington, DC, focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education.

The University Innovation Fellows Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup will take place November 1-2, 2014. Fellows from across the country will join students from the University of Maryland to participate in experiential activities focusing on entrepreneurial thinking, creativity, design thinking and community engagement.

This event is hosted by the University Innovation Fellows program in collaboration with Fellows from the University of Maryland who designed the two-day program: Atin Mittra (Aerospace Engineering B.S. ‘14), Valerie Sherry (Architecture M.A. ‘15) and Meenu Singh (Civil Engineering B.S. ‘14).

“Our goal is to get participants thinking about innovation and entrepreneurship in new, inclusive ways that challenge the traditional assumptions of what it means to integrate these fields within higher education,” said Meenu Singh, one of the three Fellows organizing the event.

The Fellows are a national community of student leaders who help students at their schools learn about innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, design thinking and venture creation. The program is run by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

“Student engagement is the key to a vibrant and growing innovation ecosystem, yet many institutions struggle to inspire and activate their student body with top-down efforts,” said Humera Fasihuddin, leader of the University Innovation Fellows program for Epicenter. “Students, on the other hand, have been especially successful at igniting their campus culture across all majors. This event will be an opportunity for students to share best practices and develop new ideas.”

The theme of the event is “Creative Collisions” to help students incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship into all facets of student life and across all areas of study. The event is a collaborative experience that will allow participants to learn from practices at the University of Maryland and share insights from their home institutions.

Activities on November 1 will take place at the University of Maryland and include a creativity workshop, a discussion with administrators on partnerships with students, a campus scavenger hunt and a business model activity. Activities on November 2 will take place in downtown Washington, DC, and include a design challenge, visits to co-working spaces and points of interest, and a movement workshop on the National Mall.

A full schedule of activities is available upon request.

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

About Epicenter:

The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at http://epicenter.stanford.edu/.

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Purpose, Passion and the Quest for ‘Why?’: Today’s College Students Yearn to Make Sense of STEM

The Massachusetts STEM Summit, held October 22, 2014, had roughly 1,300 attendees at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. Attendees traveled from across the state to discuss engaging k-12 students in science, technology, math, engineering and independent research. The University Innovation Fellows were invited to present in the afternoon. The following excerpt appeared in the MA STEM Summit program booklet. 

“Weed-em-out’ courses, dry lectures, rigorous math and an array of prerequisites stamp the love of learning out of young college students. Some universities are getting it right, but overall not so much. Fewer than 40% of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field complete a STEM degree, according to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Our nation needs us to produce one million more STEM college graduates than predicted. So, how do we, as K-12 educators, who care about the future of our most promising students, ensure a successful handoff to our collegiate counterparts? A new program called the University Innovation Fellows empowers college students to develop a culture of creativity and innovation. These students are developing strategies and learning opportunities that engage peers in project-based learning and human-centered design. The model of empowering students to develop their voice to serve as partners to faculty in bringing about institutional change has been a fruitful one, yielding innovation spaces, new courses and has even attracted alumni investment in new programs. University Innovation Fellows believe connecting high school graduates to a creative community of makers and innovators is the answer. Connecting freshman to learning opportunities that inspire students based on relevant and real-world problems as soon as they arrive at college is a means to keeping students engaged in STEM. As 168 Fellows at 85 schools work to expand and attract peers to innovation and entrepreneurship programs, the opportunity exists to create a bridge for high school students to a cool creative culture of like-minded students who can introduce and engage them in the innovation ecosystem. Recognized by the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the University Innovation Fellows is a program of the Epicenter and is funded by the National Science Foundation. In this session, participants will be introduced to the work of two Fellows who also volunteer their time in local K-12 schools to inspire young STEM enthusiasts. Learn what triggered their interests in STEM and hear their recommendations for high schools to guide students towards successful STEM careers.

The session was moderated by the Fellows Senior Program Officer, Humera Fasihuddin. The two Fellows panelists were Ellery Addington-White and Kevin Desjardins (below).

Ellery Addington-White

Ellery Addington-White

Ellery is currently a senior at Beloit College in Wisconsin working to complete a Computer Science degree. He is actively involved in CELEB, the Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit. Find out more about his student priorities here.

Ellery became very interested in digital art in high school, which led him to teach the class to other students his junior year. He now volunteers his time to work with the Beloit Boys & Girls Club and other K-12 youth to make innovation, entrepreneurship, coding and computer science more accessible.

 

 

Kevin Desjardins, University of Massaschusetts, Lowell

Kevin Desjardins

Kevin is a senior at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is completing his degree in Civil Engineering and his taking his capstone project to the next level by creating an immersive, hands-on, project-based learning experience in Haiti. Find out more about his student priorities here.

Kevin has always had an interest in engineering. He works closely with Future Cities and other local organizations to bring underserved youth STEM education learning opportunities.

 

 

 

 

Hypothesis Affirmed! Greenville, SC Ignited By Southeastern Regional Meetup

Last week, we tested and affirmed a theory. Our hypothesis was that we could bring together a group of Fellows with other college students interested in creativity, innovation and design thinking and replicate the energy of our Annual Meetup at Google and Stanford at a place far from Silicon Valley. We chose Greenville, South Carolina. Why? Because of our star University Innovation Fellows who happen to be in that region… Ben Riddle of Furman University and Bre Przestrzelski of Clemson University, and their amazingly supportive faculty sponsors Ross McClain (Department Chair, Art, Furman) and John Desjardin (Faculty, Bioengineering, Clemson).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/epicenterusa/sets/72157648089466547/player/

Ben and Bre’s work analyzing the Furman and Clemson Innovation & Entrepreneurship ecosystem informed their strategic plans to enhance that ecosystem (Furman Student Priorities, Clemson Student Priorities). They completed this work last year, over a 6-week WebEx-based program to become University Innovation Fellows and, as part of their training, flew to Google Headquarters and Stanford’s world-renowned d.school (the Hasso Plattner Design Institute). Over three days, 88 Fellows from all over the nation soaked up the innovation culture in Silicon Valley and discussed ways to lead a movement in student innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship on their campuses (March 2014 agenda, and photos). The Annual Meetup was transformative; both Ben and Bre saw the opportunity to replicate the magic and attract peers on campus.

Again, why Greenville? Program leaders, over the year that followed, discovered just how cool of a community Greenville, SC is, as both Fellows reported back the success and overwhelming support they received from institutional and community leaders. Greenville has a strong history of public-private partnership dating back to the entrepreneurial Mayor Max, under whose leadership the city attracted a major Hotel Chain and narrowed a four-lane thoroughfare into the charming downtown Main Street filled with great restaurants, culture, art and more. So, when the pair invited Epicenter and its founders, Stanford University and VentureWell, to co-facilitate design thinking and lean startup sessions with local experts, program leaders enthusiastically agreed. Thus was born the plan for the…

Southeastern Regional Meetup, Hosted by Clemson University and Furman University

SEregionalsmallEpicenter organizers, University Innovation Fellow program leaders and Fellows flew in from California, Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New York and the Virgin Islands. Fellows drove from North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and even as far away as Michigan and Massachusetts! They were joined by 20 Furman and 20 Clemson students. All had one thing in common: a desire to learn the techniques of design thinking and lean startup, two approaches used to develop strong human-centered ideas and develop scalable business models around them. Using real-world issues from the Greenville community, students applied new-found techniques in observation, empathy, brainstorming, prototyping, customer segmentation & value proposition development.

Students developed low-resolution prototypes and articulated real opportunities to improve Greenville – a more friendly main street and redesigning the eating experience. Students learned by doing and they discovered that their entrepreneurial mindset could be honed on real-world challenges in their local community. On the flip side, community members saw students as motivated and capable individuals who bring a fresh-perspective and an open mind to arrive at highly innovative and achievable solutions to their challenges. One student openly remarked during the debrief, “I learned more this weekend than in the entire semester,” a sentiment often heard by many who first encounter hands-on and experiential learning opportunities. The mood at the reception with community and academic leaders was one you’d see at a sporting event, as evident by the Bear Ninja Cowboy video posted below. This kind of enthusiasm for learning can transform our nation’s higher education institutions. We look forward to replicating this success in Washington D.C. and at UMD on November 1st and 2nd, ringing in National Entrepreneurship Month with an invitation only Meetup for 100 University Innovation Fellows. More on that soon!

~ Humera Fasihuddin, Leader, University Innovation Fellows (on behalf of Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, Katie Dzugan & Laurie Moore)

A Big THANK YOU to our Collaborators and Supporters

We are extremely grateful to the many local community members, without whom, this past weekend would not have been possible:

Design Thinkers Group USA, especially Joel, Marc and Susan, for their tremendous efforts in co-designing and co-facilitating a two-day experiential learning experience with our colleague Leticia Britos Cavagnaro from Stanford.

John Desjarin, Clemson, for his awesome giant room-sized Business Model Canvas exercise, imparting Lean Startup skills to participants in an experiential way (and his moral support).

Ross Mclain, Furman, for forging an unprecedented partnership between a liberal arts institution and a major research university (and his moral support).

OpenWorks, for being so accommodating and allowing us to use their open work space for our activities on Friday (see agenda below).

Greenville Health System, especially to Robin, for joining us to discuss what you should never do in an interview — and making it funny.

Clemson MBA at ONE, for giving us access to their swanky new space on Main Street.

Also a special shout out to Envision SC, the Spiro Institute, Ten at the Top, SCBio and all of our additional facilitators and guests of honor.

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Collaborators and Sponsors

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Collaborators and Sponsors

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Agenda

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Agenda

58 U.S. Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

For Immediate Release
October 2, 2014

58 U.S. Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

Palo Alto, CA – Fifty-eight students from 26 higher education institutions across the United States have been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter).

The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. The Fellows are a national community of students in engineering and related fields who work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future. To accomplish this, the Fellows advocate for lasting institutional change and create opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation at their schools.

This new cohort of Fellows brings the total number to 168 Fellows from 85 schools. The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA).

“It is so critical for students to have an entrepreneurial mindset in today’s economy. They need more than just technical skills to solve the big problems our world is facing,” said Humera Fasihuddin, leader of the University Innovation Fellows program for Epicenter.

“This mindset helps students learn to be flexible, resilient, creative, empathetic. They learn how to identify and frame problems rather than simply solving what’s put in front of them. With these skills, students will be able to leave school better prepared to tackle challenges and create new and fulfilling jobs for themselves and others.”
Individual Fellows as well as teams of Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators at their schools and selected through an application process twice annually. Following acceptance into the program, students complete six weeks of online training, where they connect with their new network, examine their current entrepreneurial ecosystems and formulate action plans to implement their ideas. Throughout the year, they take part in events and conferences across the country and have opportunities to learn from one another, Epicenter mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.

Fellows have created student design and maker spaces, founded entrepreneurship clubs and organizations, worked with faculty to design courses, and hosted events and workshops. In the last academic year alone, Fellows created 553 activities, 22 new spaces and 65 innovation and entrepreneurship resources at their schools.

“Fellows are having a powerful impact at their schools,” Fasihuddin said. “They are working alongside students, faculty and their university leaders to help all students learn an entrepreneurial mindset, dream big and pursue their career aspirations.”

Learn more about the University Innovation Fellows at http://epicenter.stanford.edu/university-innovation-fellows and http://www.dreamdesigndeliver.org.

About Epicenter:
The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at http://epicenter.stanford.edu/.

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

Epicenter-NSF-Stanford-VW-logos-stacked

How You Can Join a Student-Driven Movement

Do you feel that there is a gap in the student learning experience as compared to the skills graduates need to compete in today’s economy? Do you feel that your campus would benefit from student-driven demand regarding experiential learning opportunities around innovation and entrepreneurship? If you answered yes to both of these questions — you have encountered 110 like-minded students representing 74 U.S. higher education institutions.

Students are joining a national movement* of undergraduate engineers who are changing the face of higher education — Epicenter’s University Innovation Fellows (Fellows). Last year alone, students created over 20 maker spaces, founded student clubs and organizations, hosted events and workshops and even worked with faculty to design courses.

Epicenter’s Fellows program is a 6-week intensive and experiential online training program that introduces candidates to design thinking, lean methodologies and student-led change strategies. This knowledge leads students to build the necessary skills to implement lasting institutional change on their campus. Throughout training, candidates are exposed to a network of Fellows across the U.S. that enables them to share ideas, stories and key learnings around an array of resources and topics that bring innovation and entrepreneurship to campus.

Applications for the Fellows program are now live! The deadline is Friday, October 31, 2014. If you are a student, find more information about the program here and information about the application process here. If you are a faculty member looking to sponsor a student on your campus, find more information about the role of a faculty sponsor here and more information about Epicenter’s mission here.

To read the full press release about the October 31 application deadline, and to find more information about Epicenter, click here.

*The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA). Our mission is to change undergraduate engineering education, but Epicenter’s University Innovation Fellows considers all majors.

Thinc-a-thon: Redesigning the UGA Experience

Imagine 11 students at the University of Georgia (UGA) creating solutions that redesign the home — from refrigerators to floors to lighting. Fast forward 5 months, and there are now 37 students redesigning the student experience at UGA through a similar Thinc-a-thon.

Gregory Wilson, a Fellow and Ph.D. candidate at UGA, developed the original idea for a thinc-a-thon last spring. The name of the event stems from UGA’s entrepreneurship initiative, Thinc. The approach of the event was inspired by IDEO — to get students thinking and creating and designing. The thinc-a-thon is a two day event that began on a Friday and ended the following Saturday evening. By increasing the Thinc-a-thons online marketing, the event more than tripled with participants.

Another perk to garner attention was the grand prize: a trip to Silicon Valley. The student teams, which were predetermined on Friday, presented to panel of 5 judges. Each presentation had 5 minutes, plus two minutes for Q&A to woe the judges. The 2nd place team received a prize of $400. In developing this event, including the prizes, Gregory had established a budget through the Vice Presidents for Research’s Office to purchase all of the supplies and food. However, for the trip to Silicon Valley, Gregory worked with the business school’s entrepreneurship club which takes the trip every year.

Gregory provided the Fellows with the inside scoop to running an event like this Thinc-a-thon. Take a deep dive into the details with him here: Talking With: Gregory Wilson, Thinc-a-thons.

Gregory Wilson, University of Georgia

Gregory Wilson, University of Georgia

Gregory Wilson is a Fellow and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Georgia. To view the strategic priorities for UGA, visit here.

Summer 2014 Updates

Dear Fellows,

We can hardly believe that school is back in session – and we’re almost half way through training! We hope all of you enjoyed your summer endeavors and are settling back into campus life and managing your course loads this fall. As we catch up with you individually, we’d like to recap what we have been up to this summer:

National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering
April 30 – June 1, 2014

UIFs & Dan Mote, National Academy of Engineering

UIFs & Dan Mote, National Academy of Engineering

Our first event of the summer was hosted at the National Academy of Engineering in Washington D.C. During these two days, Fellows discussed the 14 Grand Challenges identified by the Grand Challenge Scholar’s Program (GCSP) alongside deans from institutions across the country. Karuna Relwani (UPitt) presented on the student panel with students from Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Engineering Projects In Community Service (EPICS) and the GCSP. Each student discussed their experience with these programs at their institution and also their key learnings from being exposed to experiential engineering. Megna Saha (Georgia Tech), Mary Wilcox (ASU Tempe), Yifan Ge (Bucknell), Valerie Sherry (UMD College Park), Ben Riddle (Furman), Lauren Distler (James Madison), Natalia von Windheim (NC State) and Corey Brugh (Colorado School of Mines) joined as well to light the fire for these deans to commit to creating change on their campus. The outcome of these two days was 66 deans signatures that solidified their commitment to bringing visibility to the Grand Challenges on their campus. For more information, visit dreamdesigndeliver.org to see a video of the commitment that Fellows made and additional articles written by both Megna and Mary after this event.

Deshpande Symposium for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Higher Education
June 10 -12, 2014

UIFs & Desh Deshpande, Deshpande Symposium

UIFs & Desh Deshpande, Deshpande Symposium

Back in June, Humera and I hoped in a car and met Nate Smialek (UPitt), Mary Wilcox (ASU Tempe), Rob Soloman (UWMilwaukee), Ben Riddle (Furman), Bre Przestrzelski (Clemson) and Valerie Sherry (UMD College Park) in Lowell, Massachusetts for the Deshpande Symposium. We also conveniently saw Kevin Desjardins (UMass Lowell) and his faculty sponsor Tom O’Donnell. The Deshpande Symposium is designed around innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, curriculum, commercialization and trending topics. Fellows facilitated a session titled: Students: Secret Agents of Change. Fellows discussed their path to serving as campus change agents and offered tips on how to foster student engagement. We had two faculty sponsors join us: Ross McClain of Furman University and Ilya Avdeev of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. To add to the discussion, the faculty spoke to their approaches in cultivating a faculty sponsor-Fellow relationship and how they were supporting their Fellows strategies for change on campus. In addition, we got to visit UMass Lowell’s M2D2, a Medical Device Development Center; the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center; and Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC).

EurekaFest 2014
June 20 – 21, 2014

Katie Dzugan, UIF Program Associate (left) & Fellow Hristina Milojevic, Union College at EurekaFest 2014.

Katie Dzugan, UIF Program Associate (left) & Fellow Hristina Milojevic, Union College at EurekaFest 2014.

EurekaFest is an MIT and Lemelson Foundation sponsored event hosted at MIT in June. InvenTeams are high school student teams invited to showcase their work from the year throughout the day in various formats — presentations and a demonstration. Student Inventions included a robotic snowblower to a pedal desk that created energy to light up a classroom to a reinvented irrigation and water system. In the evening, were the collegiate prizes which showcased the winners of two categories, “Cure it!” and “Use it!” The Lemelson-MIT student prize winners presented their technology-based inventions that were designed to improve healthcare and consumer devices and tools. The winners ranged from an easily accessible classroom 3D printer to a device that helped people monitor glucose levels. We were joined by Hristina Milojevic (Union), Natalia von Windheim (NC State) and Malik Oliver (Fayetteville) and also received a tour of the amazing MIT Media Lab. The MIT Media Lab is THE. ULTIMATE. MAKER SPACE.  Any undergraduate student that wants to support the work of the many research teams within the media lab can do so with ease. Imagine this at every campus.

 

Epicenter Research Summit
August 4 – 5, 2014

Cooking Up New Research Ideas: With Students, About Students; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

Cooking Up New Research Ideas: With Students, About Students; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

Fast forwarding to August, several students joined us at the Epicenter Research Summit held at Stanford’s d.school. Fellows in attendance were Hristina Milojevic (Union), Bre Przestrzelski (Clemson), Gurlovleen Rathore (Texas A&M), Ben Riddle (Furman), Elliot Roth (Virginia Commonwealth), Valerie Sherry (UMD College Park) and Gregory Wilson (University of Georgia). Along with program leaders, Fellows co-facilitated a session titled, Cooking Up New Research Ideas: With Students, About Students. We were extremely impressed with how each Fellow stepped up and truly helped plan and lead this session for an audience of roughly 70 researchers.

 

Researchers saw first hand that students were much more than research subjects and recipients of education. They could be active partners and co-designers of their educational experience. After a high-level program summary, researchers joined four

Valerie Sherry (UMD) during UIIF breakout groups; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

Valerie Sherry (UMD) during UIIF breakout groups; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

breakout groups, each led by a pair of University Innovation Fellows. They explored two research threads of interest to students:

  1. The what, who and why of successful I&E spaces for students: maker spaces, incubators, accelerators; and
  2. Personal and contextual factors that support the success of UIFs as change agents.

As a result of their participation, Fellows have reportedly joined together to undertake research projects with one another and with Researchers.  For more information on the Summit, click here.

 

 


Training, Fall 2014
August 25 – October 4, 2014

Fall 2014 Training Orientation; August 25

Fall 2014 Training Orientation; August 25

We have launched our Fall training! Much of our summer was consumed by application intake, interviews and planning training for the fall cohort. During the afternoon of Monday, August 25, over the course of 3 hours, we held a successful orientation session via Blue Jeans with over 80 participants, including new candidates, faculty sponsors and Epicenter staff!  In those 3 hours, we had an overview of the University Innovation Fellows mission, a faculty-only orientation discussing cultivating a strong candidate-faculty sponsor relationship and two breakout sessions for students before we convened to a close. So far, candidates have covered design thinking and have interviewed current Fellows to create 30 new how-to guides on the Wiki. This week they are surveying the ecosystem and delivering the first draft of their landscape canvases! Training will also cover spaces of innovation, the lean approach, students’ strategic priorities and finish with their strategies to give voice to student priorities for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Student IP Mission

Caleb Carr (UC Denver) has done an amazing job of getting Fellows involved to push the national agenda of student intellectual property issues. As a team, these Fellows are creating a full campaign, including a website, a petition, a Facebook and indiegogo page — even drafting bill language for the Higher Education Reauthorization Act that went up for revision this August. The following is a request for additional help from Caleb Carr (caleb.carr@ucdenver.edu):

I wanted to thank each and every one of you for your work and support these last couple weeks while pushing this very important initiative. We really are starting to lift a new leaf on the topic surrounding undergraduate/master’s research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. I am emailing you all to request some help. We need help in the following areas:

  • ​​Logo Development
  • Marketing
  • Social Media Management
  • Lobbying
  • Podcast development

If any of you have specific strengths that would help us in these specific areas and would be willing to put some time in it would be greatly appreciated. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please dont hesitate to contact me via email or phone. <End Message>

**Please note that this initiative is not directly supported by Epicenter or it’s affiliated partners: the National Science Foundation, Stanford University and the NCIIA.**

Meeting with NAB board members — Key Takeaways

Susan Brennan; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

Susan Brennan; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

Humera, Leticia and I met with three of the Fellows National Advisory Board Members — President Rick Miller of Olin College, Susan Brennan of Bloom Energy and Steve Blank of Lean Launchpad and Stanford. Our initial meeting included three Fellows: Bre Przestrzelski (Clemson), Ben Riddle (Furman) and Jaime Arribas (Morgan State). Way to represent! They discussed the projects they are implementing on their campus and what being a Fellow means to them. We met with Susan Brennan in California, just after the Epicenter Research Summit to discuss future strategies for the Fellows program.

 

(left to right) Katie Dzugan, Humera Fasihuddin & Leticia Britos Cavagnaro; Olin College 2014

(left to right) Katie Dzugan, Humera Fasihuddin & Leticia Britos Cavagnaro; Olin College 2014

Later in August, we had a wonderful visit from Leticia — she came to Massachusetts this time! During her stay we visited President Rick Miller at Olin College, had a wonderful tour from an undergraduate engineering student and also had lunch to meet a few key faculty members.

In other news: please keep up with the google group, where we frequently post travel opportunities for Fellows to travel around the nation with us and represent the national movement. We also hope you are available to join us for one of the two Regional Meetups this fall — Southeast: Greenville, SC (October 3&4) and Northeast: UMD College Park (early November).

Brechtian Estrangement and the Effect on Learning

Earlier this year, at the end of April, I found myself sitting in a grandiose room at the National Academy of Engineering in Washington, D.C. overlooking the Lincoln Memorial. I was one of a handful of University Innovation Fellows amongst a crowd of Engineering Deans representing universities from around the United States and Canada who were invited to the Grand Challenge Scholars Workshop. The goal of the workshop was to illustrate the need to improve engineering curriculum, and to identify the existing gaps present in the current generation of emerging engineers.

Cecilia Senoo and M

Cecilia Senoo (left) and Fellow Mary Wilcox.

While at the National Academy of Engineering, I heard Deans from every university in attendance lament and lambast the inability of the emerging generation of engineering students to communicate, work in teams, and to understand the interconnectedness of humanity when applying design thinking toward a challenge.

A major voice in the workshop was that of Bernard Amadei, the founder of Engineers Without Borders. Dr. Amadei delivered a speech pregnant with passion for the need to educate engineers in global cultural understanding, and the benefits that might be derived from exposing young students to the perspectives of different members of a global village.

Two short months later I find myself in a very different setting experiencing in real time the value of what Dr. Amadei was speaking about. My name is Mary Wilcox, and I am currently in Atabu, Ghana, sitting, cradled in the roots of a baobab tree.

I am working on an independent project, distinctly separate from my engineering courses, which has brought me back to Ghana and Togo for a second time in four years. For the past six weeks I have been traveling around Ghana speaking with rural school headmasters, orphanage coordinators, rural farmers, rural agrochemical salesmen, rural fishermen and aqua-culturists, rural women’s collectives, urban poor families, urban school children, the founder of one of the largest nongovernmental organizations in Ghana, and architects at a design institute in Kokrobitey. I will use my research to write an effective implementation plan for the project that will incorporate a participatory development strategy in a culturally relevant and appropriate manner. The project integrates low-tech bio-systems to turn human and animal feces and urine into food, water, soil and energy. It is designed to conserve ninety-eight percent of the water content, and produce significant amounts of high-nutrient food on a year round basis, while removing harmful contaminants from streams of human consumption. It will be income generating, and will be a vehicle that could convey other tools of empowerment such as education or health services.

Nima Accra, Open Sewer. Ghana, Africa.

Nima Accra, Open Sewer. Ghana, Africa.

This project is distinctly different from my engineering courses – most of which may be taken online – making the educational value also distinctly different.

My most valuable educational experiences have been sparked by every day occurrences in Atabu, Ghana, and Mango, Togo. There, ingenuity is not encapsulated in a computer design program, or an online module. It is experiential. It is everyday life. There, simple communication is the most difficult and mind wrenching task I have undertaken, but I learned to communicate. I learned to work with diverse teams, leading in areas I had experience with and following in areas that I needed to develop within myself. I had to. I learned from ad hoc engineering that boggled the mind, and was carried out by one or two brilliant people who never made it past a junior high school level of academic training. In estrangement to my traditional academic career I have found, undoubtedly, the most exponentially valuable educational experiences of my life. These experiences awakened a social entrepreneurial passion and a self-motivated process of growth, which I highly doubt could have ever been evoked from Stewart’s books on calculus.

When I return from Ghana, I will be meeting with the Dean of Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University to discuss the accessibility and availability of accredited engineering programs abroad. By creating opportunities for engineering students to be exposed to different ways of thinking and learning at an early point in their university program, we can produce well-rounded engineers who are culturally competent, communicative, and flexible team workers. By partnering with organizations like Engineers Without Borders, and industry partners, and local NGOs we can engage students in the most valuable learning experiences of their lives, enhance our engineering educational system, and fill the gap. We can begin to really address the Grand Challenges of humanity when we realize the value of humanity as a whole.

 

Mary Wilcox

Fellow Mary Wilcox from Arizona State University Tempe

Mary Wilcox graduated from Arizona State University in 2011 receiving two B.A.s in global studies and political science. Currently working towards a B.S. in mechanical engineering, Mary is focused on the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program at ASU. Through the EPICS program Mary is leading teams of engineering students to design and implement a sustainable development project which will provide inclusive access to food, water, sustainable energy, and preventative health in impoverished communities.

Find Mary’s Student Priorities for ASU Tempe here.

Upcoming Deadline (June 30): University Innovation Fellows Program

When you’re paired with a group of motivated and energetic individuals, anything is possible.”  – Elliot Roth, University Innovation Fellow, Virginia Commonwealth University

After training 66 University Innovation Fellows this past spring, 110 students from 78 different institutions across the nation have come together to build a more experiential learning system for undergraduate engineers and their peers on campus.

Fellows join this movement to better the higher education system as a whole for their current and future peers. There was a moment for these Fellows when they decided that they needed something more from their higher education, something to challenge them more emotionally and mentally. These Fellow’s have been told “No;” been told they are “Crazy;” and been told countless other negative things about their visions for their future. The University Innovation Fellows program is a peer-based environment to support these students. The program allows Fellows to build a network of support for their visions and their ideas for the future. There is an overwhelming sense of pride, inspiration and amazement when these students come together and to define themselves as the economic future of our nation.

These 110 Fellows understand our nation needs us. That our future depends on us. They are leaders, followers, students, entrepreneurs, innovators, problem-solvers, hard-workers, professionals, teammates, mentors, mentees, owners, influencers, and visionaries. Fellows are changing institutions of higher education one at a time, while tackling the nation’s largest problems as a whole. They are taking their degrees into their own hands, creating an experiential learning environment and challenging the boundaries of traditional education systems. These Fellows work with administration, faculty, deans, congressmen/women, and students. They are building the future we currently dream about.

Fellows have surpassed just creating awareness on campus around innovation and entrepreneurship and are building lasting institutional change through events, workshops, makerspaces, venture funds and curriculum. Last year, Fellows created more, built more and designed more. The lasting institutional impact is being scaled by efforts through Leadership Circles.

There are 5 days left to apply for the fall cohort (deadline: Monday, June 30). The application can be found here. If you have further questions, please post them below so we can share the Q&A with other visitors. We will respond in a timely manner. If you would like to speak to someone directly, please contact Humera Fasihuddin at humera@nciia.org or Katie Dzugan at kdzugan@nciia.org, (413) 341-1663. We are extremely excited to get to know our new candidates this fall!

Cheers,

Katie Dzugan
UIF Program Associate

Get Out of the Ordinary

“You don’t have to be fearless just don’t let fear stop you.” – Charlie Day, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

When most people think about Charlie Day, they don’t picture him at the podium for a commencement speech or in Entrepeneur.com’s “most inspiring leaders” category. But this year, he was invited to be the keynote at Merrimack College, where he is also an alum.  CharlieDayblogphot

For those of you that don’t know, Charlie Day is from the hit series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (which is now going into its 10th season). He plays Charlie Kelly, the character that lives in a roach-infested apartment with Danny DeVito (Frank Reynolds), pretends to eat cat food and has a whole Facebook page dedicated to just his zany quotes from the television series. What we don’t see, is that Charlie Day has an amazing story to tell about his adventure, bravery and dedication. He is not your typical journey because after graduating college, he set out to take risks and fail hard to define his success in life by doing what makes him great.

Here are his most important insights on life that he shared with 2014 graduating class at Merrimack:

1. Take the risky road; it will be more fulfilling in the long run.
2. Don’t make a plan B. It just means you are not fully committed to or invested in plan A.
3. Fail at something you will truly learn from. When you take the path of struggle and risks and passion, you will find more reward in your failures.

“I wanted to fail in the way and place where I would be proud to fail, doing what I wanted to do and let me tell you … I did fail. Time and time again. I was too short for this or too strange for that. I even had one casting director for a movie say “he’ll never work in comedy.” I was taking my punches but I was in the fight.” – Charlie Day

4. Create your own opportunities. You will be waiting forever if you think opportunity will come knocking at your door.

“We had a sense that maybe we could make a better show than what was being offered to us at the time. We borrowed cameras asked friends to hold microphones and shot this show that we would eventually call ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’” – Charlie Day

5. Take a bet on yourself.
6. If you take that bet, believe and be confident in yourself and the decisions you’ve made.

“’Life on a Stick’ went one season and thirteen episodes. We are currently filming our tenth season of “Sunny.” We’ve written and produced one hundred fourteen episodes and are signed on for another two seasons, making “Sunny” one of the longest running comedies of all time.” – Charlie Day
Note: “Life on a Stick” was a huge network opportunity presented to Charlie Day that would have paid extremely well.

7. Don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Commit to the things that scare you; it means its a challenge.
8. People will pass judgment no matter what you do. Hang on to the ones that support you in your good and bad decisions.

“You cannot let a fear of failure or a fear of comparison or a fear of judgment stop you from doing the things that will make you great. You cannot succeed without the risk of failure. You cannot have a voice without the risk of criticism. You cannot love without the risk of loss. You must take these risks.” – Charlie Day

If you get the chance, read the full commencement speech, or watch the video below. It’s down-to-earth, perceptive and enlightening.

by Katie Dzugan
University Innovation Fellows, Epicenter

 

Best Wishes to Our Graduating Fellows

We have several Fellows graduating from their institutions this semester! This is a monumental moment for them as they enter into their future endeavors.

Graduation is a time of excitement, anxiety and nervousness, but not a time to be afraid. We have watched all of you dedicate yourselves to something bigger than your degree – this movement. We pushed you hard and held you to the highest of standards, and each and every one of you rose to exceed that challenge. We could not be more proud!

We have great confidence that all of you will continue to dedicate yourselves fully to everything you do. We are extremely happy that you have allowed the University Innovation Fellows to be a part of your higher education experience. We will always continue to lend our support and cannot wait to see what you achieve in the future! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Revel in the vastness of opportunity in front of you. Your future is yours.

Sincerely,

The UIF Team (Humera, Leticia, Katie & Laurie)

 

 

Our congratulations goes out to:

Karuna Relwani, University of Pittsburgh
Jared Karp, University of California Berkeley
Sean Maroni, North Carolina State University
Sharang Phadke, Cooper Union
Jack Goodwin, University of California San Diego
Kevin Mobolade, Mercer University
Sarah Rozman, James Madison University
Jennifer Mayo, Oklahoma State University
Atin Mittra, University of Maryland College Park
Meenu Singh, University of Maryland College Park
Saheb Kapoor, Kettering University
Nicholas Fong, University of California, Merced
Ana Gouveia, University of Massachusetts Lowell
James Abdallah, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Ryan Phillips, University of Oklahoma
Alex Francis, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Chigozie Dike, Xavier University of Louisiana
Yifan Ge, Bucknell University
Brittany Wouden, Washington State University Vancouver
Michael Tantum, Wake Forest University
Christopher Woodward, Western Michigan University

If you would like to wish them well, please leave an inspiring comment below.

Applications Open for University Innovation Fellows Program

Applications are now open for Epicenter’s University Innovation Fellows program.

University Innovation Fellow Meetup 2014
May 16, 2014

This week, the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) opened the application process for its University Innovation Fellows program for U.S. college and university students.

The University Innovation Fellows, a national community of students in engineering and related fields, are leading a movement to ensure that all students gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future. To accomplish this, the Fellows advocate for lasting institutional change and create opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation at their schools.

The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).

Fellows have created student design and maker spaces, founded entrepreneurship clubs and organizations, worked with faculty to design courses, and hosted events and workshops. At present, there are 78 Fellows at 110 institutions.

“The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change on their campuses,” said Humera Fasihuddin, leader of the University Innovation Fellows program for Epicenter. “With a little bit of training, some guidance, and a great support network, Fellows are working alongside engineers, their interdisciplinary peers and faculty to prepare students to pursue their career aspirations with an entrepreneurial mindset that is so critical in today’s economy.”

The Time Is Now: The University Innovation Fellows Manifesto

John DesJardins, Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Clemson University, said about his school’s Fellow and bioengineering graduate student Breanne Przestrzelski: “As a result of her University Innovation Fellows experience, Bre has systematically begun to transform the entrepreneurial and innovation landscape of our bioengineering program, our college, our university and our community. At every level, Bre has challenged the engineering and business educators, administrators and leaders in our community to become active facilitators of student-driven engagement in entrepreneurship and technology innovation.”

Elliot Roth, a University Innovation Fellow and engineering major at Virginia Commonwealth University, spoke to the benefit of having a network of like-minded peers across the country: “During the training, I learned what it takes to be a leader, to tell a compelling story, and to work alongside a community in making a sustainable impact. Possibly the most important thing about being a Fellow is the other amazing students in the program. By sharing our experiences, we collectively learned more as a group than any one of us ever could alone.”

The deadline for program applications is June 30, 2014. Students can request an application, and faculty can request an application to sponsor a student at dreamdesigndeliver.org/apply.

Application and program details:

  • The application deadline for the Spring/Fall 2014 cohort is June 30, 2014.
  • Ideally, applicants are undergraduate students in engineering or other STEM fields, but Epicenter is thrilled to consider undergraduate and graduate applicants from all disciplines who are passionate about technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Students can apply individually or in groups of up to five, called a Leadership Circle.
  • Applicants are sponsored by a faculty or administrator who can provide a program fee, travel support and a letter of support.
  • Following acceptance, students are required to take part in an online training and in-person events. Upon successful completion, students participate in a three-day immersive experience in Silicon Valley.

Learn more at dreamdesigndeliver.org.

About Epicenter:
The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Learn more and get involved at epicenter.stanford.edu.

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Specialist, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

Click here to download the full press release: Epicenter University Innovation Fellows press release – May 2014.

Epicenter University Innovation Fellows press release - May 2014 (2)_Page_1

 

 

 

Microsoft Word - Epicenter University Innovation Fellows press r

UI Fellows Commit to Advancing the National Academy of Engineering’s 14 Grand Challenges

From April 29 – May 1, ten University Innovation Fellows (UI Fellows) were invited to attend the Educating Engineers to Meet the Grand Challenges’ Conference held at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) to lend a student perspective in discussing how to better integrate innovation & entrepreneurship, interdisciplinary project-based work, service learning, global perspectives and research related to the 14 Grand Challenges identified by the NAE. UI Fellows made statements of commitment to advancing this on their campus; to hear their commitments, you can view this video. This is one of ten posts continuing the conversation about how they will achieve their commitments to their campus. 

Megna Saha is one of three University Innovation Fellows at Georgia Tech. She is a 4th year at Georgia Institute of Technology wiht a Biomedical Engineering Major and a Pre-health and Computer Science minor. For more on Megna, read her bio here: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/wiki/Megna_Saha

Megna Saha is one of three University Innovation Fellows at Georgia Tech. She is a 4th year Biomedical Engineering Major and a Pre-health and Computer Science minor. For more on Megna, read her bio here.

By Megna Saha, Biomedical Engineering major with a Pre-Health and Computer Science minor, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

Reflecting on my commitment to the collaboration of entrepreneurship and innovation throughout all majors at Georgia Tech, I realized my whole institution is committed to this. This past week at the NAE Grand Challenges Workshop, we explored the pillars of engineering education and what it meant to prepare engineers to take on the grand challenges of the world. The resources and faculty support are here at Georgia Tech; the time is now to utilize them for multidisciplinary collaboration.

Our metric for success will be the engagement that students have to these resources. Currently, a design incubator open to all majors is being created with the mission to expand the footprint for innovation at Georgia Tech by implementing a multidisciplinary center for research and collaboration by bringing together facilities, curriculum, people, and outreach to the Atlanta community.

A space is not enough though; it is a creative, innovative mindset that the University Innovation Fellows are trying to establish at Georgia Tech. We believe GT students can change the world. Our campus offers many resources, and even better faculty, to help innovation and creativity on campus. We need to connect the GT community by creating an umbrella organization to help students flow toward these resources on campus, and create channels for student-faculty relationships.

Our program will exist to foster a passion and create sustainability for innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) among all members of the Georgia Tech community. Through the University Innovation Council, students and faculty will be able to grow the I&E movement on campus together, as well as facilitate other movements going forward. This means that they will become more reliant on, and trusting of, each other, and whatever their major might be. If both students and faculty are invested in the same issue and working together to make change happen, Georgia Tech’s campus landscape in I&E will continue to grow in the future, which will only perpetuate the success of the I&E campus and further interdisciplinary connections.

UIF Fellows, Georgia Tech

Rachel Ford, Alex Flohr, and Megna Saha

Cal Poly Freshman and Dublin High School Alum Nicholas Sinai Selected as Prestigious University Innovation Fellow

University Innovation Fellow, Nicholas Sinai, is recognized by his high school (Dublin High School) for his entrepreneurial pursuits at Cal Poly University San Luis Obispo during his freshman year. His past teachers and family provide an amazing insight into the type of person Nicholas is, and we couldn’t agree more. Keep up the great work Nicholas!